Charter Schools

The NAACP Is Attacking Charter Schools and Black Leaders Are Furious

Teachers unions want to sabotage charters, even though they help poor black kids.

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At its annual meeting last month, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People came out against new privately-managed charter schools—even though said schools are one of the best tools for providing poor black kids with quality education.

"Charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system," asserts the resolution, which was approved at the NAACP meeting. "Weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education."

The resolution calls for a halt to charter school expansion. It is not official NAACP policy yet: it still has to go before the full board.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, former teacher and activist Carol Burris lauded the NAACP's approval of the resolution:

The democratic governance of our public schools is an American tradition worth saving. Although results are not always perfect, school board elections represent democracy in its most responsive and purest form. Sadly, it has become no more than a memory in many communities — especially in urban neighborhoods of color where citizens are already disenfranchised in so many ways.

In those communities, privately managed charters have accelerated a decline that began with mayoral control of public schools.

It's no surprise that public school teachers and administrators resent charter schools encroaching on their territory—and yes, that's what charters are doing. It's just not really a bad thing.

That's because charter schools, despite some missteps, are doing a much better job than traditional public schools in the only contest the matters: educating kids. As The Wall Street Journal noted recently, "charter students have improved by two to four times as much as the citywide average" in New York City:

A recent analysis by Families for Excellent Schools found that New York City charters, whose student populations are more than 90% black and Hispanic, raised their local community school district proficiency rates by 13%. More than 70% of charters outperformed local district schools in math and English. Black and Hispanic students who attended charters scored 73% higher than their counterparts at district-run schools.

New York City's failing public schools are still failing. They are failing, despite the herculean efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio to throw money at the problem. If this is the outcome of government-management and "local control"—which, to my ears, is really just code for teachers union control—why should any parent prefer it?

It's especially disappointing for the NAACP to go after charters, since they do so much good for struggling students of color. Some education reformers of color are furious.

"The public charter school moratorium put forward at this year's NAACP convention does a disservice to communities of color," Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, told The Washington Examiner.

Jeffries isn't alone:

Steve Perry, founder and head of Capital Preparatory Schools, went on NewsOne Now to criticize the national NAACP. "They couldn't be more out of touch if they ran full speed in the other direction," Perry said. He said the national group is "out of touch even with their own chapters … This is more proof that the NAACP has been mortgaged by the teachers union and they keep paying y'all to say what they want to say."

Is the NAACP in the business of defending the civil liberties of people of color, or is it in the business of promoting union bosses? If the latter, the NAACP should go ahead and okay the resolution. If the former, it should listen to people like Jeffries and Perry.

Charter schools are about creating better options for disadvantaged communities. Honest advocates of minority interests shouldn't run in fear of charters just because teachers unions are using the p-word—private—to smear them.

For more on this subject, watch Reason TV's video, "How One Charter School Is Helping End Poverty in the Bronx."

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  1. Help? You think you know what help is!? You don’t know nothin! You want to teach these poor black kids history and science and all that other white devil stuff! Benjamin Franklin is de debil!

    1. ***gives Black Power salute ***

      1. Vouchers only.
        Close all public schools as they currently exist.
        Place charter schools in those buildings.
        All publicly funded schools should be operated at the county level only. No hierarchy.
        Elected officials should have to answer for failures. no bureaucratic superintendents and minions who do NOTHING

  2. “Charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system,” asserts the resolution, which was approved at the NAACP meeting. “Weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education.”

    I can’t tell whether he’s talking about private schools or public schools.

    1. “Weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted,”

      Whereas strong oversight of government schools guarantees the waste of taxpayer money, and un-educated kids besides!
      A two-fer; what more can you ask?

    2. Wait, I thought segregation was hip again?

      Maybe these folks need to go back to college and be educated.

  3. “Although results are not always perfect, school board elections represent democracy in its most responsive and purest form”

    Fuck off and die. There’s nothing less responsive than mob majority rule.

    1. How many people actually bother to learn about their school board, anyway, and how beholden are school boards to teachers?

      1. “teachers” should be “parents.”

        1. We had 2 retired teachers on our school board. For the children.

  4. “In those communities, privately managed charters have accelerated a decline that began with mayoral control of public schools.”

    Translation: Our retirement Ponzi scheme is in danger. Time to use the children as human shields again to shore up the pension fund.

  5. “erodes local control of public education.”

    The NAACP is racist!

  6. The democratic governance of our public schools is an American tradition worth saving.

    You see that word there, baggers? That ‘democratic’ word? That means democracy! That’s why you have to vote for the ‘democratic party’! Duh. Republican… I totally don’t know what that means… but it’s bad! And this new fangled ‘libertarian’ word… I totally even more do not know what that means, so it’s more bad! Vote Democrat, because Democracy! You don’t even lurnt the English, dummies!

  7. The charter my daughter goes to is one of the, if not the, top rated public schools in the county. Admissions act on a strict lottery. Anyone in the county can apply. Only priority they have is given first to siblings of current students, and even they aren’t guaranteed admission.

    Anyone want to tell me how that encourages segregation?

    1. ** scratches head ***

      Because Blacks have more siblings?

    2. Systemic racism, dude. If they’re not actively practicing racial preferences, they’re racist.

      /sarc

    3. Would that school be in Arizona, by chance?

    4. I’m a big fan of charter schools, but I can see how giving parents with certain prejudices a veritable smorgasbord of school choices lets them choose the kinds of kids they want their own little darlings rubbing elbows with.

  8. I’m thinking of a form of control that’s a lot more local than her definition.

  9. These kinds of oddities tend to happen in presidential election years.

  10. Although results are not always perfect, school board elections represent democracy in its most responsive and purest form

    I say “OUCH”…for democracy

    1. Yeah, like OUCH my nuts. Or, more precisely, OUCH my kids’ nuts.

    2. Oligarchy is the new Democracy.

  11. Also:

    There’s a charter school near where I work. The school is over 90% minority and over 80% of the children receive free or reduced price school lunches. This past year, it received an “A” grade from the state. Skimming the other inner city schools around here, I can’t find any other “A” grades. One “B”, and a whole lot of “C” and “D” grades (and a few “F” as well). So how would taking that away from the children who go there improve their lives, I wonder?

  12. public funds at risk of being wasted

    You’re worried about wasting money NOW???

    Dear God, don’t anyone tell them about all the other government programs…they’ll lose their shit!

  13. It’s especially disappointing for the NAACP to go after charters, since they do so much good for struggling students of color. Some education reformers of color are furious.

    “The public charter school moratorium put forward at this year’s NAACP convention does a disservice to communities of color,” Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform

    Colored education reformers need to realize that charter schools are taking money away from public schools and colored children are being deprived of a quality education. Colored teachers and colored administrators can only do so much with the paltry sum given to colored schools.

      1. A guess: pointing out the absurdity in language around teh blax. Person of color = colored people flipped (and is right there in the NAACP name) but we keep changing the term for darkish peopl from non Arab African descent. But just a guess. Personally I prefer to call them people.

  14. The democratic governance of our public schools is an American tradition worth saving. Although results are not always perfect, school board elections represent democracy in its most responsive and purest form.

    that same governance that has seen a massive increase in spending over the last 40 years, yet seen a flatline in student progress?

    Also, my experience with school boards has shown that they could give 2 cents for democratic process.

  15. Pretty much the same as when AARP supported Obamacare to the detriment of their members except I doubt any kids are NAACP members so fuck them

  16. That’s because charter schools, despite some missteps, are doing a much better job than traditional public schools in the only contest the matters: educating kids.

    Slow down, there, hoss. What matters is what the people who matter say matters. And what they say matters is publicly employed teachers with phat union contracts and pensions, indoctrinating children with lefty cant.

  17. Any large enough broad interest organiz’n is going to be disproportionately influenced by any substantial interest group within if they are so interested. Public choice theory applies not only to gov’t.

  18. “This is more proof that the NAACP has been mortgaged by the teachers union and they keep paying y’all to say what they want to say.”
    NAACP does what their masters tell them to do.

  19. Ok look everybody, let’s remember what’s important here.

    Teachers don’t make big salaries [though it is a living wage] so they really need those nice benefits and retirement package that no one else [outside of Congress] has had in years. Summer off and retirement in 25 years. This is what the teachers union is about, has always been about, and will always be about. And charter schools are just fucking it up for them.

    1. Exactly. Do charter school teachers contribute to a union pension fund or do they have an individual 403b retirement account?

      I’m assuming they don’t since most charters don’t offer tenure, thus no guaranteed job, thus no guaranteed union dues, which is at the core of the problem with charters, from the teacher’s union point of view.

  20. The error in the writers thinking is that the leaders of the NAACP or the Democratic party want to help blacks or any minorities to succeed. They want them struggling cause if they succeed then there goes votes. If minorities succeed then the power brokers lose their political clout and financial well being. Kids in charter schools could lead to Blacks gaining financial well being. They then might move away to the suburbs where they won’t be voting as a block. They also might start to be concerned with taxes. But whatever happens without that block voting the king makers like Sharpton or the leadership at the NAACP will no longer be invited to the cool kids parties. They can no longer be bought off.

  21. The NAACP is an arm of the Democratic Party. Therefore, they back the party line, which is to support teachers’ unions at all cost. It is depressing that Democrats have abandoned generations of children to keep the union money coming in.

  22. Proving that the NAACP is just another adjunct of the Democrat-Progressive Party, same as the public-employee unions such as the NEA and AFT.

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